Monthly Archives: November 2015

Being Illustrated

  A complimentary copy of Falling and Flying, Poems on Ageing arrived in my mailbox this morning.  The list of contributors reads like Who’s Who in the poetry circle in Australia–names such as Bruce Dawe, Rosemary Dobson, Robert Gray, Gwen Harwood, Dorothy Hewett, Clive … Continue reading

Posted in ., Poetry | Tagged , | 17 Comments

The Retreat of the Drones

I am not claiming victory, as I know well that I am safe only for the interval before the next onslaught. Last evening an ‘acting manager’ of Enable NSW called to apologise for the torment I’d suffered and to waive my … Continue reading

Posted in Diary, Health, Living with Cancer | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments


  The term 金飯碗 literally means Gold Rice Bowl in Chinese.  It is a metaphor for a job you cannot lose but not necessarily a well paid job as you might imagine.  In fact in Hong Kong where I was … Continue reading

Posted in ., Diary, Health | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Session Seven: Introduction to Chinese Calligraphy

In this the penultimate session of the course, I would like to encourage the students to become creative.  Although there is a set ‘form’ in the way Chinese calligraphy is traditionally presented and I will cover this in class, contemporary artists … Continue reading

Posted in Chinese Calligraphy | Tagged | 9 Comments

Problem Solving in Class

Yesterday, during the sixth session of an eight weeks’ Chinese Calligraphy course, I continued to learn from my students. First I outlined the plan for the last three sessions:  1. Revision and Problem Solving; 2. Designing and preparing an Artwork … Continue reading

Posted in ., Chinese Calligraphy, Diary | Tagged , , | 12 Comments

Session Six: Introduction to Chinese Calligraphy

It’s time for revision and consolidation.  The students have all demonstrated their ability to execute varying thickness of brush strokes yet most of them have trouble applying that skill to writing the characters. Three new students joined the class last week, … Continue reading

Posted in Chinese Calligraphy, Diary | Tagged , | 6 Comments

A Thank You to Someone I Never Met

It was not a gift but I feel that I should say thank you.  I feel I know you a little from those many things that your family chose not to keep.  There they were, framed needlepoints and embroideries, leaning … Continue reading

Posted in Craft, Diary | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

A Day in My Urban Orchard, November 2015

My day starts with the goldfish.  They live in a converted planter (1200x450x450mm) under the jacaranda tree.  Now their tank is thickly covered with blooms every morning and my first task is to remove them.  Those blooms continues to rain onto … Continue reading

Posted in Diary, Garden | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Flower Insignificant

Whoever invented that botanical insult to small blooms should be soundly thrashed with a bunch of the gaudiest gladioli.  Yes, this writer is of insignificant proportions. Remember Carmen Miranda, the singer who wore bowls of fruit on her head?  She … Continue reading

Posted in Diary, Garden | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

At Circular Quay, Sydney

Sydney’s put on an outdoor wine festival today; it was popular with the tourists disgorged from the latest cruise ship.  Yes, yet another cruise ship.  Sigh.  I felt sorry for them; it was a cloudy and ‘cold’ day (21ºC maximum). … Continue reading

Posted in Diary | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Jellyfish and Octopus

At Paddy’s Market, Flemington, Ang and I were attracted to the seafood but since it was a hot day and a long drive home neither of us bought any.  Jellyfish and octopus, anyone?                … Continue reading

Posted in Diary | Tagged , , , | 10 Comments

How Many Flowers Fell? 花落知多少?

Every November the fallen flowers of the Jacaranda festoon the streets of Sydney: it’s examination time and the end of the school year for students; Christmas is nigh.

Posted in Diary | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

Session Five: Introduction to Chinese Calligraphy

Everyone passed the test in Session Four yesterday.  They have demonstrated their ability to achieve a variety of thicknesses with their brushes and compose a simple character using that technique.  Below are samples of their ‘test paper’ :      Session … Continue reading

Posted in Chinese Calligraphy, Diary | Tagged | 13 Comments

Update on the Thousand Dollar Bandage

I was billed for a $1,145.80 bandage, though only 20% was demanded from me.  The Health Department’s Enable NSW is picking up 80% of the bill.  I was shocked as the bandage, when I was paying 100% was under $200. … Continue reading

Posted in Diary | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

A Jacaranda Morning

This morning as the birds went berserk and the garden paths were coloured purple, I was reminded of the poem about the dawn chorus on a spring morning after a night of ‘wind and rain’, surely the poet was speaking of … Continue reading

Posted in Diary | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments

Session Four: Introduction to Chinese Calligraphy

Last week the students jumped into the deep end and tried their hands at ‘writing’ the characters ‘和平’ with admirable results.  It proved to be a good exercise in which students became more aware of their weaknesses and mistakes. In … Continue reading

Posted in . | Tagged | 6 Comments